Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Critical Psychology

pp 267-271

Common Sense, Overview

  • Francesco Paolo ColucciAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of Milano-Bicocca Email author 


Common sense presents multiple and sometimes contradictory meanings, to the extent that it may be considered contradictory of itself. This contradictory nature is reflected in the relationship of common sense with critical psychology (Colucci, 2007). On the one hand the currents within psychology that define themselves as “critical” – from Holzkamp’s Berlin Critical Psychology onwards – either have not included this concept in their inquiry or have considered it of marginal importance, placing greater emphasis on concepts such as consciousness which have been a more traditional focus for Marxist theory. On the other hand if critical psychology is to fulfil its declared aim to be emancipatory, it should value the common sense of the subjects it sets out to emancipate, that is to say, the “view from below” (Condor, 1997, p. 120).


According to the dominant thinking, common sense is nothing other than “what everyone knows”; it is universal; predic ...

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